Winona, Minn. – The Gustavus Adolphus men’s basketball team leaned on strong post play to defeat Saint Mary’s 80-61 on Saturday afternoon at SMU Gym. The Gusties outscored the Cardinals 50-20 in the paint, thanks in large part to the performance of five players who scored in double-figures, four of which play in the post. Brody Ziegler (So., Mankato, Minn.) led the way with 19 points on 9 of 12 shooting. With the win, Gustavus improves to 10-5 overall and 7-3 in the MIAC, while Saint Mary’s drops to 2-12 overall and 1-8 in league play.
After the Gusties jumped out to an early seven-point lead (9-2) in the first two and a half minutes, Saint Mary’s came back with a 6-1 run of their own to cut the lead to two points (10-8) three minutes later. From there, the two teams traded baskets for the rest of the half, as neither team would lead by more than four points for the remainder of the half.
Each team shot the ball well from the field on the way to a 34-32 halftime score in favor of the Gusties. Gustavus shot 55.6 percent (15-27) from the floor, while Saint Mary’s connected on 54.2 percent (13-24) of its shots.
The Gusties opened the second half with an 8-1 run that gave them a nine-point lead (42-33) thanks to Brody Ziegler and Brian Jacobs (Jr., Lake Crystal, Minn.), who each scored four points in the run.
Nearly four minutes later, a 13-3 run gave the Gusties a 20-point lead (65-45) on a dunk by Martin Feddersen (Jr., Winona, Minn.). During the run, the Gusties used their size advantage inside once again as they tallied eight points in the paint during the stretch.
From there, Gustavus would lead by as many as 22 points on its way to the 19-point victory.
After a strong shooting performance in the first half, the Gusties were even better in the second half, shooting 70.4 percent (19-27) to bring their game total to 63 percent (34-54). Gustavus also held Saint Mary’s to 36.8 percent (7-19) shooting in the second half and forced 13 turnovers. The Cardinals shot 46.5 percent (20-43) for the game.
Five Gusties scored in double-figures. Combined those five players made 30 of 40 shots for a shooting percentage of 75 percent. Ziegler led the way with 19 points on 9 of 12 shooting, while Brian Jacobs followed with 15 points thanks to a perfect 7 for 7 shooting mark. Peter Kruize (Fr., St. Peter, Minn.) chipped in with 13 points off the bench on 6 of 10 shooting. Martin Feddersen added 11 points on 5 of 5 shooting and Sergio Najera (So., New Prague, Minn.) netted 10 points off the bench on 3 of 6 shooting and brought down a team-high seven rebounds.
Ronnie Ortiz led the Cardinals in scoring as the only player to finish in double-figures with 10 points on 5 of 9 shooting. He also dished out a game-high three assists. Will Swiggum added nine points and a game-high eight rebounds.
Gustavus will be back in action on Wednesday, Jan. 22nd, when it hosts Hamline University at 7:30 p.m., on Gus Young Court.